Heavy Handed


SlickString
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SlickString
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04/30/2010 8:19 pm
Always people say to me that I strum too hard and that I should let the amplifier do the work. Or that I fret the strings too heavily and alter the note. How do I stop playing the guitar in this heavy-handed way?

Years ago I remember learning the open F Chord on my nylon strung classical guitar and the only way I could get it to ring cleanly was to grip the neck like mad and sort of force the notes out - ouch. When I got my first electric last year and really started learning I just naturally played it in the same sort of way although I try not to choke it :(

Maybe it's just my natural intense nature and maybe I'll never be able to change but I hope not! I've always held my pen tightly when I write - I remember when I sat exams way back when I was a kid and that after a 2 hour exam the 2nd finger on my right hand had a great dent in it and was quite sore!

When playing guitar I try to have sessions where I focus on the lighter touch when I play but I always seem to revert to type in the long run especially if I get some dud notes from fretting too lightly. Maybe I'll always be a Henry Rollins type of player :eek:

I'm at the stage where I want to add feel and emotion to my playing and this is hard when I play like this.

Anyone else had this tendency and found a cure and could help get me on track?

Cheers
[FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium]Youtube Channel - Jim47ww[/FONT]
# 1
LisaMcC
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LisaMcC
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04/30/2010 9:57 pm
Hi Slick,

I find I play different guitars differently, depending on their style, strings, etc. You certainly don't want to choke the guitar so hard that it wears out your hand muscles. And you don't want to strum harder than the guitar itself can handle. If it seems to be rattling from the impact, compromising the tone, you may be overdoing it a bit.
I actually wham on my acoustic with more gusto than my electric, because the strings are hardier and it responds really well!
Lisa McCormick, GT Instructor
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# 2
Razbo
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Razbo
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04/30/2010 11:31 pm
I had the same problem on electric. I used to wail on my acoustic for years (and still do), then picking up the electric required a much lighter touch. I experienced all the things you mention. I am finally getting some finesse and no doubt you will, too. It's still hard in like a "full strum mode" to hit E to e really evenly (pick ups are quite dynamic!).
...so ever since then, I always hang on to the buckle.
# 3
SlickString
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SlickString
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05/01/2010 10:58 am
Thanks for the replies :)

It's good to know I'm not the only one. I have improved my lightness a little but it seems I'm still struggling to fret the strings by only the right amount, and no more, all the time. Relaxation is key I know but I suppose I'm bound to transfer some of my natural intensity (sounds terrible that doesn't it!) to my guitar.

I just don't want to wear out my hand muscles as you say Lisa and also lose that all important 'touch'.
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# 4
Carmine M
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Carmine M
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05/01/2010 12:17 pm
SlickString
I know it may seem odd, but try to relax your breath before starting playing and follow it after.

Carmine

Regards,

cm

# 5
RickBlacker
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RickBlacker
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05/06/2010 3:27 am
Play in the dark with the lights off. Focus.
[U]Ricks Current Mystery Video[/U] - Updated Monday March/02/2015
# 6
SlickString
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SlickString
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05/08/2010 9:33 am
Originally Posted by: RickBlackerPlay in the dark with the lights off. Focus.


That's a good tip. At first I thought it was a bit of a glib comment but then gave it some further thought and realised there was a good point in there.

It also made me think laterally and just today I turned the volume right up and played as softly as I could. It forced me to tiptoe around the fretboard with a much lighter touch and strum more carefully and gently. It really demonstrated how lightly it's possible to play! Maybe I won't always play that gently :D but at least I know I've learned a usefull lesson.

Anyone else got any useful input?? All suggestions are helpful.
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# 7
RickBlacker
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05/08/2010 2:44 pm
I'm glad you found it useful. I think it also allows you to 'HEAR' your playing better as well.
[U]Ricks Current Mystery Video[/U] - Updated Monday March/02/2015
# 8
Carmine M
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Carmine M
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05/08/2010 6:47 pm
Originally Posted by: RickBlackerI'm glad you found it useful. I think it also allows you to 'HEAR' your playing better as well.

So, you really were not joking :confused: :p

Carmine

Regards,

cm

# 9
RickBlacker
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RickBlacker
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05/08/2010 11:35 pm
No man no. Try it. Listen to your playing. You will pick up on all kinds of slop , volume changes and tempo changes as well.
[U]Ricks Current Mystery Video[/U] - Updated Monday March/02/2015
# 10
Carmine M
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Carmine M
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05/09/2010 7:26 am
Originally Posted by: RickBlackerNo man no. Try it. Listen to your playing. You will pick up on all kinds of slop , volume changes and tempo changes as well.


I completely agree.

Regards,

cm

# 11
SlickString
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SlickString
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05/10/2010 7:38 pm
Just thought I'd post this link I found -

http://guitar-gizmo.com/guide-left-hand-position-playing-guitar

There seems to be some useful information in the article which might help new starters.

I'm not sure about the Space Trainer device though. It's probably too late for me so I won't be getting it but it's cheap enough.
[FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium]Youtube Channel - Jim47ww[/FONT]
# 12

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